Kathy Rapp may be one of the oil and gas industry's friends in the Pennsylvania General Assembly, but that friendship has little, if anything, to do with the existence of a shallow gas well on her small farm.
Rapp, like many who fall in line behind the titular head of her party, is predisposed to the drilling industry because she is first and foremost a good party member who follows the script to the letter.
Contending that her receipt of a pittance from a single shallow gas well on her farm represents a conflict of interest and prompted her to introduce legislation that purports to benefit those companies contemplating poking the Marcellus Shale under the Allegheny National Forest is a stretch of mammoth proportions.
Rapp's House Bill 1904, which takes aim at the federal government's handling of federal lands within her district, is simply a bad bill that wouldn't survive a constitutional test. But, we don't believe that she was bought with the $100 she receives annually from EXCO Resources, the current owner of the well on her property, which was drilled many years ago by another company.
No, Rapp is simply a good soldier in her party.
The trouble with extremes on both sides of the issue of oil and gas exploration in Pennsylvania - or any hotly contested issue for that matter - is that they tend to generate a lot of sensational, albeit misleading and sometimes false information and accusations.
The Allegheny Defense Project's railing over the well on Rapp's property is an example of that. We could cite examples from the other side as well, such as Gov. Corbett's cautionary fairy tale that a severance tax on Marcellus gas would stampede drillers out of the state, or the contention that there is nothing to fear from the chemical cocktail they pump in and out of the ground.